May 2018

This Day in History… May 8, 1819

Death of King Kamehameha I 

US #799 pictures a statue of Kamehameha in Honolulu.

The first king of the Kingdom Hawaii, King Kamehameha I, is believed to have died on May 8, 1819.

Kamehameha’s exact birthday is unknown but is believed to have been between 1735 and 1761. There are several different accounts claiming the date of his birth, but one interesting one places his birth in 1758.

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This Day in History… May 7, 1992

First Flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour

US #2544a is based on a photograph of the Endeavour‘s liftoff for the STS-57 mission.

On May 7, 1992, the Space Shuttle Endeavour embarked on its first mission, STS-49.

Following the Challenger disaster in 1986, space shuttles were grounded for two years, but plans for a new shuttle began. On August 1, 1987, authorized the construction of a new shuttle to replace the Challenger.

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This Day in History… May 6, 1935

Works Progress Administration 

US #3185e honors several New Deal programs, including the WPA.

On May 6, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 7034, establishing the Works Progress Administration.

Roosevelt won a resounding presidential victory in 1932 with his contagious optimism and promise of a “new deal.” On Roosevelt’s Inauguration Day, 25% of the workforce was unemployed, farm prices and industrial production had dropped by more than half, and two million people were homeless. The nation was in the midst of a bank panic, fueled largely by speculation, which led FDR to proclaim, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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This Day in History… May 5, 1862

Happy Cinco de Mayo 

US #3203 was part of a joint-issue with Mexico to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

On May 5, 1862, Mexican forces defeated French invaders at the Battle of Puebla.

Following the Mexican-American war of 1846-48 and the Reform War of 1858-61, Mexico’s Treasury was nearly bankrupt. On July 17, 1861, newly elected president Benito Juárez announced that Mexico would not be making any foreign debt payments for two years.

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This Day in History… May 4, 1974

Opening of Expo ’74 

US #1527 was designed by legendary artist Peter Max.

On May 4, 1974, Expo ’74 opened in Spokane, Washington.

“Celebrating Tomorrow’s Fresh New Environment” was the slogan for the 1974 World’s Fair held in Spokane, Washington. It was the first world’s fair to focus on environmental themes instead of the space age and technological wonders.

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This Day in History… May 3, 1861

Winfield Scott’s “Anaconda Plan” 

US #153 from the 1870-71 National Bank Note Printing.

On May 3, 1861, General-in-Chief Winfield Scott presented a plan to end the Civil War without a great loss of life – it was later dubbed the “Anaconda Plan.”

At the beginning of the Civil War, many in Washington, DC, felt the Union would defeat the Confederacy in a short time. General Winfield Scott was a seasoned soldier and skilled strategist, so he knew the war would be drawn out.

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